World War II is the second of two world wars in the 20th century, a global military conflict that lasted from 1939 to 1945, involving many nations. The United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, the United States, the Republic of China and France, joined the war as the Allied Powers; Germany, Italy and Japan joined the war as Axis Powers. All the major powers of the time joined the war.
1 September 1939, the day Germany invaded Poland, generally accepted as the day war started. Two days later, The United Kingdom and France declared war against Germany.
Germany’s purpose was to create a great empire in Europe. Since the ends of 1939 to 1941, Germany seized or suppressed most of the European territory through a series of battles and treaties. While the German-Soviet Treaty was in progress, the so-called neutral Soviet Union occupied all or part of the territory of six neighboring countries and incorporated it into its territory.
The deep traces left by the Second World War, known as the bloodiest war in human history, can still be seen even after 74 years since the end of the war.
One of the most tragic aspects of World War II was the massacres in concentration and extermination camps. Nazis built destruction camps in many countries to commit mass slaughters.
Auschwitz-Birkenau Camp in Poland was the largest of these camps. 1,3 million people sent the camp and 1,1 millon of them killed.
In these Nazi camps, which were recorded as one of the greatest calamity in human history, experiments conducted on people. Corpses of the dead people burned in crematoriums.
Millions of people of different races, especially Jews, were killed in the course of Nazi Germany’s policies to create a superior German race. During the World War II, more than 6 million Jewish people have been murdered. These massacres called as the “Holocaust” by the United Nations.
During the war years, the United States placed 127 thousand Japanese citizens living in the country to detention camps. At least 1,800 Japanese citizens died because of violance, bad treatment and poor nutrition.
In the World War I, 95% of the 9.5 million people killed were soldiers and 5% were civilians. In the World War II, %33 of the 65 million people killed were soldiers and %67 were civilians.
With the Battle of Stalingrad, the offensive power of the Germans was broken, which is considered to be the breaking point on the Eastern Front. Germans, with the Battle of Kursk, made their last major offensive move against the Russians, but failed. With the Battle of Stalingrad, German forces kept retreating untill they reached to Berlin.
On 7 May 1945, General Jodl, signed Germany’s surrender. Germany officially surrenders unconditionally on May 8, 1945. Russia celebrates this on May 9 due to time difference.
Did you know that the discourse about “If you eat carrots, your eyes will see better” based on World War II. The British army, which dropped German planes one by one, explained the reason why pilots see better in the newspapers to hide their radar technology as eating carrots.